Apr 26, 2024

What is Affiliate Dropshipping? 5 Easy Steps to Get Started for Beginners


f you’ve ever dreamed of running your own online store but don’t want to blow tons of cash on ads, then you might want to stick around. We’re diving into what is affiliate dropshipping — a cool twist on the usual dropshipping game where you get to team up with affiliates who do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing your products.

And the best part? You only pay them when they make a sale.

Sounds too good to be true? We assure you it's very real. Let’s break it down and see how you can get your own affiliate dropshipping store rolling this week.

Understanding What is Affiliate Dropshipping

Alright, so first up, what is affiliate dropshipping? Imagine you’ve got your online store set up, but instead of throwing money at ads hoping people will notice you, you get other people (affiliates) to shout out about your products.

These affiliates share your stuff with their followers, and if it leads to a sale, you kick them back a commission. It’s like having a bunch of friends who help you sell your products, and you only need to pay them when they actually make a difference.

Why Go With Affiliate Dropshipping?

Choosing affiliate dropshipping means you’re not alone in trying to make sales. You've got partners (affiliates) who are like your sales force out there hustling for you:

  • Cost-Effective: Forget about setting aside thousands of dollars for ads. With affiliates, you’re using a “pay as you go” approach.
  • Wider Reach: Your products get in front of people you’d probably never reach on your own, thanks to your affiliates' audience.
  • Trust Factor: When someone they follow recommends your product, people are more likely to buy because there’s already a trust bond.

Affiliate Dropshipping vs. Regular Dropshipping

Regular dropshipping has you putting up ads and crossing your fingers hoping people will buy. That can get expensive and unpredictable. With affiliate dropshipping, you harness the power of word-of-mouth. You link up with affiliates who use their own ways to talk up your products to their peeps, often leading to better conversion rates because it’s all coming from a trusted source.

Getting what affiliate dropshipping is all about? It’s pretty much setting up a store where your marketing team is made up of affiliates ready to get the word out. They do their thing, and you watch the sales roll in, paying them a slice only when they seal the deal.

Next up, we’ll dig into how to pick killer products and set up your store so it’s all primed to work well with affiliates. Hang tight, because we’re just getting started!

Step #1: Finding the Right Products to Sell

Alright, now that we've explained what is affiliate dropshipping, let's cover the first step to getting set up — picking your products or niche. This step is massive because if you choose the right stuff to sell, your affiliates will have an easier time hyping them up, and that means more sales for you without the sweat.

Tips for Picking Cool Products

  1. Go for the Popular Demand: Find stuff that people actually want but aren’t everywhere already. You want that sweet spot of high demand and not too much competition.
  2. Quality Matters: Choose products that won’t fall apart. Good quality means happy customers and less headache for you and your affiliates.
  3. Niche is Your Friend: Stuff that’s targeted, like gear for skateboarders or eco-friendly cosmetics, can really resonate well with specific crowds. It’s easier to sell when you know who you’re selling to.

Wondering where to find these products? Check out Dropcommerce. We’ve got a solid selection of cool products that aren’t just your everyday items, plus they’re all shipped by reliable North American suppliers, which is exactly what you need.

It's completely free to install the app and have a look around!

Step #2: Designing Your Shopify Store

Now that you’ve got your products lined up, it’s time to set up shop. Creating an aesthetic Shopify store is your next step in rolling out your affiliate dropshipping store. Your store’s vibe can make or break whether visitors stick around to shop or bounce, so you got to make it look presentable.

Before you start affiliate dropshipping, you need to design your own Shopify store.

Key Elements of a Sick Shopify Store Design

  • Keep It Clean and Cool: A cluttered store is a turn-off. Keep your design clean and simple so it’s easy to navigate. Think about the big brands; their sites are usually super easy to use.
  • Mobile First: Most people will check out your store from their phones, so make sure it looks great and works smoothly on mobile.
  • Fast Load Times: No one sticks around for a slow site. Optimize your images and keep things light so pages load quick.
  • Easy Checkout: Make buying as simple as possible. Every extra step in the checkout process is a chance for them to bail.

For real, your store is your front line in the world of affiliate dropshipping. It’s not just about looking good—it’s got to be all set for sales. And hey, if you’re new to this and need some guidance, we've got some reseources that can help you get started. Check out our guide on the top Shopify affiliate marketing tools, or our list of dropshipping store examples. Let us make your life easier by providing some inspiration.

Got your store looking tight and your products on point? Nice. Next up, we’ll talk about how to find those key players—your affiliates—who can really get your products flying off the virtual shelves.

Stay tuned, because it only gets more exciting from here!

Step #3: Finding and Doing Outreach to Affiliates

Now that you’ve got your store and products dialed in, it’s time to build up your crew. Finding the right affiliates is a crucial part of nailing what is affiliate dropshipping. These are the peeps who are going to hype your products to their audiences, so you want to make sure they're aligned with your brand and have the reach to make things happen.

How to Scout for Cool Affiliates

  • Identify Your Ideal Affiliates: Think about who your customers are and what kinds of influencers or content creators they follow. You want affiliates whose followers would genuinely be interested in your products.
  • Use Social Platforms: Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are hotspots for finding influencers. Check out who’s talking about products like yours and see if their vibe matches your brand. Theme pages are a great start!
  • Affiliate Networks: Sometimes it’s easier to go through a network where you can find a bunch of potential affiliates all in one spot. This can save you some legwork.

Pitching to Potential Affiliates

Once you’ve spotted some potential affiliates, it’s time to reach out. Usually this is best done by DM or email. Here’s how to keep it real:

  • Personalize Your Message: Nobody likes feeling like one of many. Tailor your messages to show you’ve really looked at what they do.
  • Be Clear About the Benefits: Explain what’s in it for them. Be upfront about the commission they’ll earn and any other perks of working with your brand.
  • Support Them: Show that you’re all about making this partnership easy and beneficial. Provide them with all the tools they need to succeed, like graphics, product samples, and promotional codes.

Getting your affiliate network set up is a big leap towards mastering what is affiliate dropshipping. Once you have a solid group of affiliates promoting your products, you'll start to see the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Step #4: Selecting an Affiliate Marketing Shopify App

To keep everything running smooth and make sure you and your affiliates are on the same page, you’ll need a good system in place. That’s where Shopify apps come into play. Choosing the right affiliate marketing Shopify app is a big deal in getting what is affiliate dropshipping to work effectively.

Woman thinking about what Shopify app to use for her affiliate dropshipping store.

What to Look for in a Shopify Affiliate App

  • Ease of Use: You want something that’s easy for you and your affiliates to use. Complicated systems can turn people off.
  • Tracking Capabilities: It’s crucial that the app accurately tracks each affiliate's sales and commissions. You need to know who’s bringing in the bucks so you can reward them properly.
  • Support and Reliability: Good customer support is key in case you run into any hiccups. Reviews can be a great way to check how responsive the app creators are.

Top Shopify Affiliate Apps

Check out the best Shopify affiliate marketing apps to compare features and find the one that fits your needs. These apps can help automate tracking and payments, making your life a lot easier and letting you focus more on growing your store.

Setting up a solid affiliate program with the right Shopify app is crucial for keeping your affiliate dropshipping business organized and transparent. With the right tools, you’ll be ready to manage your affiliates effectively, ensuring everyone’s happy and motivated to sell.

With your products chosen, your store set up, and your affiliate network buzzing, you’re well on your way to making a splash in the affiliate dropshipping scene. Next, we'll look at how to set up your affiliate program and keep things rolling smoothly.

Step #5: Setting Up Your Affiliate Program

Alright, you've got everything lined up—your store is looking sharp, your products are on point, and you've got some cool affiliates ready to push your stuff. The next big step in making what is affiliate dropshipping work for you is setting up your affiliate program properly. This setup is where you define the rules of the game: how much you’re going to pay, how you track sales, and how you handle payments.

What is affiliate dropshipping? It's a way of getting other people to sell your products for you.

Key Considerations for Your Affiliate Program

  • Commission Structure: Decide how much you’re going to pay your affiliates. Is it a flat rate per sale, or a percentage? Maybe a tiered system that rewards top sellers? Either way, make sure you explain how your program works to your affiliates so that there aren't any misunderstandings.
  • Tracking and Reporting: Make sure you have a system in place to track affiliate referrals accurately. This is crucial so that everyone gets paid right and knows how they’re performing. Otherwise, they'll be asking you for updates, putting more work on your plate.
  • Terms and Conditions: Set clear rules for your program. This includes do’s and don’ts for your affiliates, payment schedules, and any other legal stuff that protects both you and them.

Setting up a clear and fair affiliate program is critical for maintaining trust and motivation among your affiliates. They’re a major part of what is affiliate dropshipping, so keeping them happy means they keep working hard for you.

Marketing Your Dropshipping Store with Affiliates

Now that the setup is done, let’s talk about how to really get rolling with what is affiliate dropshipping. Marketing your store through affiliates is all about communication and collaboration. Here’s how to make sure you and your affiliates can make some serious noise in the market.

Strategies for Effective Affiliate Marketing

  • Regular Communication: Keep your affiliates in the loop with regular updates about new products, promotions, and any changes in your store. A monthly newsletter might be a good way to stay connected.
  • Equip Your Affiliates: Provide them with all the marketing materials they need, like banners, social media posts, and product images. Make it easy for them to promote your products.
  • Create Exclusive Offers: Give your affiliates special promo codes or exclusive deals they can offer to their audience. This not only boosts their ability to sell but also tracks how effective they are.

Boosting Sales Through Affiliate Promotions

  • Run Contests and Incentives: Energize your affiliates by running contests or giving bonuses for top performers. This keeps the momentum going and makes selling more fun.
  • Leverage Affiliate Feedback: Listen to what your affiliates are saying. Their insights can help you improve your products and your store, making them more sellable.

By using these strategies, your affiliate dropshipping business isn’t just about selling products; it’s about building a community around your brand. This is the real magic of what is affiliate dropshipping—you're not just pushing sales; you're growing an engaged network that believes in your products.

That’s a wrap on setting up and pushing your dropshipping business with the power of affiliates. Keep these steps and tips in mind, and you’re well on your way to turning what is affiliate dropshipping from a cool idea into a profitable reality.

Advantages Over Paid Ads

So why go all-in with what is affiliate dropshipping instead of just pumping money into paid ads? Here's the deal—using affiliates can give you a bigger bang for your buck and a lot less risk. Let’s break down why this route might just be the smarter move.


With paid ads, you’re shelling out cash up-front without any guarantee of returns. That’s risky, especially if you’re just starting out and watching every penny. Affiliate marketing flips this on its head—you only pay after the sale is made. No sales? No costs!

Higher Conversion Rates

Affiliates are like trusted friends recommending your products, and recommendations from friends often lead to sales because there’s already trust there. Ads don’t build relationships; affiliates do.

Sustainable Growth

Paid ads are like a faucet: the traffic stops when you turn off the money. Affiliate relationships can provide a steady flow of traffic and sales long after initial efforts, thanks to the ongoing efforts of your affiliates who continue to promote your products as part of their content.

Final Thoughts

Jumping into what is affiliate dropshipping might seem a bit daunting at first, but it’s actually a super smart way to get your online store off the ground without dumping tons of cash into uncertain ad campaigns. By choosing affiliate dropshipping, you’re leveraging a network of marketers who believe in your products enough to sell them on their own channels. It’s a partnership that not only reduces your risk but also increases your potential for higher returns.

Remember, the key to success in affiliate dropshipping is to start with great products that people actually want to buy and promote. That’s where Dropcommerce comes in handy. With its curated selection of top-notch products, you can find exactly what your future customers are looking for, making it easier for your affiliates to pitch and sell your stuff.

Getting Started

Ready to ditch the expensive ad campaigns and start with something more sustainable? Jump into what is affiliate dropshipping with Dropcommerce today. Check out our Dropcommerce Shopify app to get access to quality products that are perfect for your new dropshipping venture. Sign up, pick your products, and start building your affiliate network right away. Let’s make your dropshipping dreams a reality, one sale at a time!

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